The Economy of Ancient Greece

Economy basically involves the use of goods by a society. This usually involves money and trading. But economy for the ancient Greeks actually meant ‘laws of the household’. ‘Eco’ is from the Greek word “oikos” which meant “house”, and ‘nomy’ meant “law” – and thus ‘laws of the house’ or ‘rules of the house’. This was more on a micro perspective of what economy means.

Ancient Greek Money

But even on a wider application and a broader view of ancient Greece economy, meaning being applied to how their society makes use of goods in the market, they had their own thing going on for them. With the different roles each citizen played, and with the various activities during those times as trading, ancient Greece economy was active.

In the Stone Age, the Greeks were mainly sailors in which they were able to fish for their own consumption and for selling. With one port they’ll buy some things of interest, and they may also trade these on other ports.

Some Greeks were fisherman, farmers, mercenaries for hire, traders, and some were pirates. They were as diverse as any group could get, but there was no one exclusive category to define one, as at times they could either fish, then trade, and at times would do some raiding if they got the chance.

Ancient Greek sculpture

Ancient Greece economy in the Bronze Age was marked with the need to depend more on sailing, fishing and trading for economic survival. Products from farming, even coupled with sheep herding were not enough to meet the demands of a highly increasing number of people in ancient Greece economy.

With the fall of the Dark Ages, there was not that many people living in Greece as before. Some left to other areas, and tried to live beyond theirhomeland causing a change in the societal activities in Ancient Greece economy.

Then in the Classical period, trade became more important as the need to sufficiently feed the again increasing population in Greece. They turned to fighting and worked as mercenary soldiers for other countries. During this time as well, not enough wheat was available for their consumption, thus they looked to Sicily, southern France, and other neighboring countries for trading. They made use of their olive oils, wines, and works of art such as the finely decorated vases, as their goods for trading.

The ancient Greeks were very creative in addressing economic concerns they were facing in the different times of history. They adapted and innovated, making the ancient Greece economy a dynamic one throughout its history.